KATHMANDU, Nepal- With the country enjoying democratic republic after the end of decade long conflict, foreign entrepreneurs are willing to invest more in the country, specially on the tourism sector making the sector third highest recipient of foreign direct investment after the services and manufacturing sectors.
According to the Department of Industry (DoI), foreign direct investment in tourism swelled more than four-fold in 2012-13 with total investments of Rs 3.89 billion. The figure was Rs 837 million in the previous year, the DoI said.
Tourism experts said the foreign investments trend reflects rising investor interest in the industry due to higher arrivals following the end of the conflict.
Foreign investments in the tourism industry were spread over 87 sectors. Industry insiders said that opportunities were expanding in hotels and resorts as 100 percent foreign direct investment is allowed in this sector as per the country’s commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Purna Chandra Bhattarai, joint secretary at the Industry Division of the Tourism Ministry, said, “The government is taking several steps to attract foreign investment. And among all the sectors, tourism has been drawing the greatest interest among potential foreign investors.”
According to him, the future scenario of Nepal’s tourism is quite encouraging given its competitive nature. “Besides leisure activities, the government has planned to promote business and corporate tourism in Nepal.”
Business tourism is the provision of facilities and services to visitors who annually attend meetings, congresses, exhibitions, business events, incentive travel and corporate hospitality. Although investors are concerned about Nepal’s political climate at present, Bhattarai said that if politics were stable and there were a secure business climate, Nepal had huge tourism potential.
In 2011, the tourism industry attracted capital investments of Rs 12 billion.
In 2012, Nepal earned Rs 36.6 billion from tourism, equivalent to 24 percent of the value of the country’s total exports. The income is forecast to grow 2.1 percent in 2013 and 4.1 percent per annum from 2013 to Rs 55.6 billion in 2023.